Carly Pearce Admits She ‘Hated’ Kelsea Ballerini When They First Met — But That Quickly Changed

“I wanted what she had so bad,” Pearce admitted.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

May 21, 2021


9:06 am

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Carly Pearce, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

When country music superstars Carly Pearce and Kelsea Ballerini first met in a therapy group, they didn’t instantly hit it off. In fact, Pearce suffered a bit from the green-eyed monster, after hearing about Ballerini’s success at a young age. 

In conversation with SiriusXM’s Storme Warren for the latest episode of SiriusXM’s Exit 209 with Storme Warren Podcast, Pearce reflected on the story of when they first met. 

“…we were like in a girl’s therapy group for artists. And she was the only one in the room, but she would, she was like, I got a record deal and my single ‘Love Me Like You Mean It’ is about to come out. And I hated her,” recalled Pearce. “I literally looked at her and was like, this girl is like five years younger than me. She’s so happy and not jaded and like innocent. And I just remember being like, I don’t… in my head being a girl, wanting what she had. I wanted what she had so bad. And I remember crying in that meeting and being like, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’”

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Luckily, that hate didn’t last long because in that same meeting, honesty brought them together to form the beautiful friendship that they have to this day.

“Kelsea and I became friends in that, in that meeting, we aligned because I was honest,” explained Pearce. “She then goes on to bust down a lot of doors for people like me. And she took me on tour and I didn’t even have a record deal. She took me on as her opening act. And because I was honest with her in that, not knowing what I was doing, she would let me ride her bus because she wanted me to be able to sleep and not drive in the 12 passenger van…I mean like, so many moments, so many people have given back to me or taken a chance on me or just shown me love.”

In the interview, Warren pointed out that if they had not shown that honesty and “broken down those barriers,” their relationship might not be what it is today.

“Imagine if I would have just sat and stewed and been bratty,” Pearce responded. “We probably wouldn’t have the relationship that we have because she was just, she had every right to be excited. I was just envious and we joke about it now because I mean, I was just so envious, but I decided to just be like, ‘Hey, I have no idea what I’m doing.’ And she became such a, such a friend, but also a huge asset for me, she didn’t forget me.”

Pearce has shown that it’s okay to ask for help, because we all need a little help from time to time. And from this experience, she learned that honestly really is the best policy for creating strong relationships.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.